NorthEdge Capital backs Orbis Protect’s bolt‐on acquisition of Optosafe

Private equity‐backed property, site and people protection specialist Orbis Protect has made its first acquisition following a strong period of growth despite the UK‐wide lockdown.

The business employs more than 400 staff across 19 UK depots, working with clients across the private and public sectors. Its services include vacant property management – deep cleaning, repairing and securing vacant properties ready for re‐occupation, as well as site security for commercial offices, construction and other vulnerable sites through its monitoring services. It also offers a lone worker monitoring solution, supporting 35,000 workers annually with personalised alarm services.

The deal will see Orbis Protect acquire Glasgow‐based Optosafe, a rapidly deployed 360‐degree CCTV tower provider with which it has partnered for three years.

The deal follows NorthEdge’s initial backing in 2018 and two years of strong organic growth for Orbis Protect, which has achieved consistent year‐on‐year organic EBITDA growth in excess of 20% since 2016. Earlier this year the business ranked 8th in the Sunday Times’ Profit Track and following the acquisition it is expecting to achieve in excess of £8 million EBITDA in the next financial year.

During lockdown Orbis Protect has seen rapid grown of its decontamination services. In March it had six team members trained to deliver the environmentally friendly specialist cleaning service, which includes fogging technology to remove traces of COVID‐19, with a further 60 being trained throughout lockdown to meet customer demand.


Guy Other, Orbis Protect Chief Executive, said:

“During lockdown we have been able to adapt quickly to support clients. This approach to spotting new opportunities for our business has been key to us continuing to report strong organic growth. NorthEdge has been supportive of our ambitions since backing the business, and their support with our first acquisition has been invaluable.

“Over the last few years we have developed a strong partnership with Optosafe on a range of client projects, the specialist insight the team can provide makes this deal a key part of our ongoing strategy and will help us to further accelerate our growth.”


Current Optosafe CTO John Robertson has joined Orbis as Managing Director of the Optosafe division and will continue to focus on delivering industry leading customer solutions and driving new product development opportunities.


John Robertson, MD of Optosafe, said:

“We know our markets well and are aware of the high demand for Optosafe’s services. It makes monitoring and security for areas like construction, infrastructure and utilities safer and more reliable than traditional security systems, which is key for clients who own and operate these assets. Working with Orbis Protect will allow us to accelerate our ongoing R&D work to develop new services for our customers.”


The acquisition was funded in part by financing provided by Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank. Orbis were supported on the acquisition by Deloitte (Corporate Finance), Browne Jacobson (Legal), BDO (Financial Due Diligence), Fairgrove Partners (Commercial Due Diligence) and Better Basics (Operational Due Diligence).


Kevin O’Loughlin, Investment Director at NorthEdge Capital, said:

“Orbis Protect has performed exceptionally well in the harshest of trading environments presented by COVID‐19. The acquisition of Optosafe provides Orbis Protect with additional penetration into the high growth CCTV towers market and underpins the exciting growth strategy which Management have for the business.”


Ian Mansell, Senior Director at Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank, said:

“We are delighted to have worked with Ben and the team at Orbis Protect and alongside NorthEdge Capital, to deliver what is a highly strategic acquisition. To have completed this deal against such a challenging backdrop is testament to the resilient and highly sustainable performance seen across the core business, which should be further enhanced through this acquisition. We look forward to continuing to support Orbis Protect deliver its ambitious plans for future growth”.

Orbis Back to Business Webinar

After months of uncertainty which has seen many businesses forced to close their doors, recent government guidelines have begun to pave the road out of lockdown with advice for how businesses can get their workplaces back up and running.

One of the biggest challenges facing business across the country is how this can be done safely, in a way that protects the health and wellbeing of both employees and the public.

At the same time, the impact of lockdown on many businesses means that getting back to work may not be straightforward. “Many organisations will start their journey out of lock down in very different places,” explains Orbis CEO, Guy Other. “Businesses will need to think and act differently.” It is likely that insolvency levels will rise, which in turn raises questions around how best to secure and protect vacant property and assets.

Addressing safety and compliance when getting back to business is therefore a multi-faceted issue. To help get to grips with this, Orbis hosted an exclusive ‘Back to Business’ webinar to share the latest thinking around security and compliance. Drawing upon our 40 years of expertise in the security & property protection industry, as well as the specialist perspectives of our valued contributors, Guy Other led us in a discussion which considered the implications of moving out of lockdown on the safety of both people and property.

We were joined by Mike Reddington, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association, who shared the BSIA perspective on returning to work and suggested actions that ought to be taken to ensure businesses can reopen safely.

First and foremost, when considering the return to work, Mike encourages businesses to ask – “can [our teams] continue to work remotely?” Taking a blended approach between those returning to the workplace and those continuing to work from home could help employers strike a safe balance to help businesses to mitigate risk.

Also crucial is staying organised. “It is critically important,” Mike emphasises, “that we stay abreast of government advice; organisation is key when considering returning to work.” Ensure your employees are educated about the latest government guidelines, and how you plan to enforce these in your own business, for example regarding social distancing measures and heightened hygiene procedures.

Risk assessments will also form a critical part of a safe return to work. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Risk assessments “need to be applicable to each individual building and business” if they are to work effectively, Mike advises. There are templates available here (BSIA website) to help you get started.

After considering how businesses can adequately protect their people, the discussion moved to consider another key aspect of security and compliance: how best to protect property and assets. Andy Grieve, Senior Risk Consultant at Aviva, was on hand to share some key insights.

“The current economic conditions means that there will unfortunately be some businesses that do not emerge from lockdown,” Andy explained. “This will inevitably lead to an increase in vacant properties.”

Securing vacant sites has been an important topic for insurers for many years; in light of recent circumstances, this is more prominent than ever. For those organisations assuming responsibility for properties that have become vacant, it is critical to assess the hazards presented by such premises and consider the appropriate measures we can implement to reduce the potential for loss or damage.

The session provided the opportunity to consider specific insured perils in detail, from fire to theft. Andy shared some crucial insights and advice about mitigating these risks and remaining compliant to insurance requirements. Looking at a range of practical measures – from recommended methods to physically secure a site, to the benefits of deploying monitored CCTV systems – we were able to enrich our knowledge of what insurers will be looking for as businesses reopen.

The expertise shared during this session will undoubtedly be useful as we move forwards, for both businesses who are considering how best to safely reopen their workplaces and for those responsible for managing properties which have become vacant. We hope that all who attended the session will be able to put the advice shared by our expert panellists into practice.

If you would like to watch a replay of the webinar, click the link below:

Lowdown on lockdown security to ease coronavirus strain

Author: Orbis Protect business development director Louis Fordham

I’ve always thought there was no stopping people in the construction industry.

Having been around the block a few times, I’d see nothing that could get in the way of the building trade. No matter what was thrown their way, once things were moving, they would find a way.

But then along came coronavirus and instead of rising through the air, everything was thrown up in the air.

No one has been immune, and the lockdown ordered by PM Boris Johnson brought to a halt activity on building sites as homebuilders have followed Downing Street’s order.

We’re in uncharted territory. I know from speaking to contacts in the building world that there’s a lot of uncertainty around.

They fear that things could get worse before they get better and that a ramped-up lockdown could herald a new wave of unsecured building sites, with even essential work put on hold.

Securing the industry’s investment 

With theft from construction sites costing the sector as much as £1bn every year, they could be forgiven for being anxious because there’ll be even more at stake.

I don’t want to be alarmist but arsonists, vandals, looters, graffiti artists and trespassers will see lockdown as an opportunity rather than inconvenience.

They know there’ll be large volumes of valuable material on site including copper pipework for plumbing, cabling for electrics, boilers and radiators for heating, windows, doors and kitchens. And there’s the compound with offices complete with computers storing commercially sensitive information that must be protected.

Irrespective of size, shape and location, the owner has a duty of care – to ensure sites are secure as well as where possible wind-tight and water-tight.

That is our priority and what follows is in line with budget, insurance requirements or maybe just because a building is worth millions of pounds and needs protecting and securing in one shape or form.

Multiple security options are available – from basic alarms and CCTV to smart technology and old-fashioned guards with guard-dogs. Here as a starter for ten are a few tips;

  • Update your insurer with any changes to the status of a site, a development, or a property, even if this is only partially vacant
  • Assess the risks to your property/site and act on these to protect your investment
  • Let commercial and residential neighbours know the site is void and ask them to be vigilant
  • Add security monitoring equipment such as alarms and CCTV towers
  • Set up and maintain fencing and light-timers to stop criminals
  • Install warning signage

But with everything happening at a frenetic pace, there’s every chance closure might be sprung upon unsuspecting companies.

Whatever happens, that immortal line from Lance-Corporal Jack ‘Don’t panic!’ Jones. Dad’s Army rings truer than ever: Don’t Panic.

For starters, you’ve got to beware cowboy security companies and look out for British Security Industry Association (BSIA) accreditation – the security industry’s equivalent of travel’s Abta seal of approval.

As well guarding against intruders with robust measures, companies must protect themselves by dotting those i’s and cross that t’s. They have a liability with their own insurers.

Construction sites can be worth hundreds of millions so the last thing companies want is for something to go wrong and then suddenly be told by their insurers that they’re not compliant.

If someone breaks in and leaves a fire in their wake the first thing insurers will do is ask is if their own terms and conditions were followed?

If that’s not the case then they’ve got as much right not to pay out as they would if a motorist was involved in an accident after failing to get their car MoT-ed.

The devil can be in the detail. If you do what you’re supposed to do then you’re pretty much fine.

That’s where security specialists come in. They can go on site to carry out compliance risk-assessments, scrutinise the insurance policy and then make appropriate recommendations.

The insurance companies trust the specialists’ recommendations and if they fail because, for example, someone has some sneaky so-and-so has managed to get round them, then at least clients are covered. And you’ve got peace of mind. In these days, that’s invaluable.

This article first appeared on Construction News: https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/agenda/opinion/avoiding-insurance-problems-with-locked-down-sites-24-04-2020/

Vital services for people facing challenging times supported by Orbis Protect

Specialist cleaning provided at accommodation centres across North East

A Tyneside-based charity that provides safe accommodation across North East for people facing a personal crisis has been given a helping hand by a caring company.

Changing Lives, whose headquarters are in the Team Valley, is being helped by specialist cleaning firm Orbis Protect to continue providing a vital lifeline during the coronavirus outbreak.

The award-winning charity offers accommodation services for people experiencing homelessness and domestic as well as sexual abuse, which have faced unprecedented demand since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Changing Lives Property

Now in a bid to help, Orbis Protect’s specialist team have stepped in so Changing Lives can step up this vital support, donating manpower and materials to carry out deep cleaning at 12 of its premises across Tyneside, Wearside, Teesside, County Durham and North Yorkshire.

Neil Baird, Head of Homeless Services at Changing Lives said: “The coronavirus pandemic is severely affecting people who are already facing difficult times.

“Often the people we support do not have access to a safe place to stay, to food and necessities like cleaning products. It is vital that everyone can self-isolate and socially distance themselves safely.

“We are committed to ensuring that our support services remain open. Our teams are working incredibly hard to help keep people safe and out of hospital, but it is an ongoing challenge.

“We’re extremely thankful for the help from the Orbis Protect team, who have been collaborative and supportive while working with us. By helping us to keep our properties clean and safe, they are playing a vital role in the coronavirus response.”

The team uses a cleaning method known as fogging, which creates a very fine mist that once sprayed hunts for bugs and viruses, including coronavirus. Deep cleaning of properties allows residents to stay safe and can help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Changing Lives Accommodation

Guy Other, Chief Executive at Orbis Protect, added: “The principle of giving something back to the community has always been important to us, and never more so than at this time.

“I’m proud that the team has supported the vital work Changing Lives leads, to enable people to access safe accommodation in their time of need so they can get back on their feet again.

“They lead by example and we have the expertise to give the charity’s staff and the people who rely on Changing Lives, peace of mind so they know they’re out of harm’s way as the country tackles coronavirus.” 

Orbis Protect is also one of the UK’s leading security providers. Its teams provide hundreds of organisations across the UK with the confidence that their assets are secure and that their people are protected every day.

About Orbis Protect:

  • Established in 1981, Orbis Protect has 18 offices across the UK, employs 450 staff, a fleet of over 160 vehicles and a turnover of over £30 million
  • Clients sectors include national housing associations, construction, facilities management, care homes, NHS, the police, insurance and asset management 
  • Membership held at the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, British Security Industry Association, British Pest Control Association, Suzy Lamplugh Trust and British Safety Council.
  • Accredited by Contractor Plus, CHAS, Environmental Agency, SafeContractor, Constructionline Platinum and Builders Profile.
  • Multiple British Standards and ISO Accreditations.

About Changing Lives:

  • Changing Lives is a nationwide charity helping people facing challenging times make positive change – for good.
  • The charity supports over 17,000 people annually through 100+ schemes, stretching from Northumberland to Merseyside and the Midlands. Changing Lives is dedicated to supporting people to reach their potential, including addiction and recovery programmes, employment guidance, help for people in prison or on probation, and support for people experiencing sexual exploitation and domestic abuse. 
  • By focusing on their strengths, potential and opportunities, Changing Lives helps people overcome their challenges and live safe, successful, independent lives.
  • Changing Lives is the operating name of The Cyrenians. Registered Charity No. 500640 | Registered Company No. 995799 | Registered in England

Unpacking The HSE Guidelines Around Home Working

The Health and Safety Executive recently published new guidelines for looking after the health, safety and wellbeing of lone working employees. These revised guidelines included a specific focus on those employees who work from home. In light of the current situation around the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires people to work from home wherever possible, it is more crucial than ever to familiarise yourself with these guidelines.

 So, what does the HSE say about controlling the risks of working from home?

You have the same responsibility for the safety and health of employees who work from home as for any other employees. This means providing supervision, education and training, as well as implementing enough control measures to protect the homeworker. You should accept liability for accident or injury of a homeworker as for any other employee

  1. Supervision
    • Communication is key to keeping your team together when working apart and critical in making your home working employees feel connected and supported. There are plenty of useful tools at our disposal to help us stay connected these days. Consult with your team about how they would like to be supervised and communicated with; email may be enough for some, but perhaps others would benefit more from regular phone calls. Being visible to each other is also a fantastic option. You could consider apps such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams to arrange video calls and conferences.
  2. Education
    • It is important that your home working employees understand what this new working environment means for them. Many may never have worked remotely or from home before. Take time to share guidelines and educational pieces around working from home, so your team understands what is required of them and how they can flourish working in a home environment.
  3. Training
    • If the way your business operates has temporarily changed, this needs to be reflected by updating training materials made available to your employees. It is essential that you equip your new home working employees with guidance and training materials to help them adjust to their new working environment.
  4. Implementing control measures
    • As part of your duty of care to your employees, it is crucial to consider how best to mitigate risk when working from home. At the bottom of this article, we have provided a number of useful resources for information relating to the legal aspects of working from home.
    • You may also wish to use this opportunity to investigate software solutions which are specifically dedicated to protecting your new lone workers and ensuring the control and protection measures put in place are adequate for the new risks they may now face. These can help provide home workers with peace of mind that, if anything should happen, there is somebody available to help them when they need it most.

We hope we have been able to shed some light on your responsibilities as an employer of home working staff. Please do have a look at the resources we’ve provided below for more insight and guidance:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg73.pdf

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/3242/regulation/3/made

https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2016/10/Working20alone.pdf

https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse/

https://loneworkersafetylive.com/identity-cms/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Ed-Milnes-Homeworking-guidance-revised- 2303.pdf

https://www.nhsemployers.org/~/media/Employers/Publications/Home%20working.pdf

Fourth emergency service rises to coronavirus challenge

Specialist cleaners Orbis Protect report six-fold jump in calls to combat Covid-19

A ‘staggering’ jump in demand for decontamination services to tackle the coronavirus pandemic has today been revealed by specialist cleaning and security company Orbis Protect.

The six-fold month-on-month increase for March was reported by the Uxbridge-based firm which is now braced for requests to more than double again in April as the Covid-19 crisis grips the UK

The steep rise in demand has come chiefly from the emergency, social care and health sectors to protect the most vulnerable and staff along with public works chiefs determined to keep up progress on essential projects and carry out key maintenance.

While Britons are being urged to battle coronavirus through staying at home and washing hands properly, many organisations and businesses are stepping up the fight by turning to companies like Orbis Protect.

Orbis Protect is one of the country’s leading security and protection services companies and carries out hundreds of decontaminations and deep cleans every year – but now they are dealing with an unprecedented demand for their ‘fogging’ service.

Guy Other, the Orbis Protect Chief Executive, said: “There has been a six-fold increase in demand for our comprehensive ‘fogging’ services over the last month and we’re doing everything we can to assist in these unprecedented times.

“We’re being told by organisations across the healthcare and public sectors that they are determined to ensure their premises are safe because they have a duty of care to patients, customers and their own staff – and to protect everyone from coronavirus.

“We have never seen anything like this staggering rise in calls for our help but I’m proud of the way my team are rising to the challenge of meeting customers’ needs on the frontline and combatting such a highly contagious and deadly bug – for me they’re like the fourth emergency service.”

‘Fogging’ is a vaporisation process in which a solution is poured into a dispenser that creates a very fine mist that once sprayed hunts for bugs and viruses for the bacteria and it smothers 99.9 per cent to death – including coronavirus.

In order to keep pace with the spiralling demand, Orbis Protect now have 60 specially trained staff who are qualified to carry out ‘fogging’.

Orbis takes every step to ensure a discreet and highly efficient service is provided, designed to minimise disruption.

Louis Fordham, the Orbis Protect Business Development Director, added: “Our team is working around the clock because they are relishing their opportunity to disarm Covid-19 and help everyone get back to normal.

“We have responded to customers’ needs by ramping up training to make sure our staff are fully qualified to carry out ‘fogging’ work to the highest standard through rigorous and carefully monitored assessments.

We never sub-contract our fogging services and that not only safeguards staff against Covid-19 but it means we know work is carried out properly and processes are followed meticulously. That provides peace of mind to customers who can be certain targeted areas are thoroughly sanitised – because ‘fogging’ gets everywhere.”

The treatment is cost-effective in comparison with traditional cleaning and because of the speed in which the process can be fulfilled.

And with 18 locations throughout the UK, Orbis Protect can provide a rapid response nationwide.

For further details contact Orbis Protect via info@orbisprotect.com or call 08000 830 850.

Orbis Protect:

  • The UK’s leading vacant property management, site and lone worker protector
  • Established in 1981, the company has 18 offices across the UK, employs more than 440 staff, has a fleet of more than 160 vehicles with a turnover of more than £30m.
  • Clients sectors include national housing associations, construction, facilities management, care homes, NHS, the police, insurance and asset management. 
  • Membership held at the British Institute of Facilities Management, British Security Industry Association, British Pest Control Association and the British Safety Council.
  • Accredited by Contractor Plus, Trust Mark, CHAS, Environmental Agency and SafeContractor.

Orbis Company Statement – Covid-19

Messages from our CEO, Guy Other

Support and Advice

Thursday – 09/04/2020

I hope you and your teams are adjusting positively to the changes that have affected us all in recent weeks. More importantly, I hope that you are well.

To reassure you all, we remain fully operational and continue to provide vital support to clients in areas where they most need it, alongside offering advice to organisations who are thinking about how best to protect and secure their assets. 

This advice includes:

  • Helpful tips on deep cleaning and fogging, which we’re providing to hundreds of clients to support their COVID-19 response. read more

This advice vividly illustrates how our teams are adapting to provide vital front-line support at this challenging time.

As always, we are committed to providing our clients with the support needed to deal with the pressures related to the ongoing response to COVID-19.

If you need additional support over the Easter weekend, please do get in touch if we can be of assistance in these areas.

 

Enjoy the Easter break and stay well.

Kind regards,

 

Guy Other
CEO, Orbis Protect


Our Promise to you

Thursday – 26/03/2020

I’d like to update you about the steps we are taking to support our clients in response the coronavirus outbreak.

As you are aware, the government’s advice has changed since we last wrote to you and we know you will be facing unprecedented challenges. We are working overtime to ensure you can pick up any gauntlet that COVID-19 throws down.

As a consequence of our support of the emergency services, social care, lone workers and infrastructure, our staff have been authorised to provide essential services throughout this difficult period.

I wanted to re-assure you therefore that we remain fully operational – with our top priority being to provide top-class service and vital support.

These are anxious times for people from all walks of life and businesses of all sectors but our key objective will be to ease the commercial stresses and strains caused by coronavirus.

As a business we are taking every precaution to protect our staff, be that working remotely or safely on customer’s sites.

Our promise to you

Orbis is always dedicated to supporting our valued clients across the UK. We will continue to provide emergency security, protection and decontamination services as the national response to COVID-19 continues.

I am immensely proud of my team’s robust contingency planning, standing up to the challenges caused by COVID-19 and how we have been able to respond to clients’ needs.

Our thorough preparation means:

  • Our rapidly deployable security emergency response teams are on hand to protect property within 4 hours.
  • Our specialist cleaning teams can be mobilised to carry out decontamination cleans within hours.
  • Our rapidly deployable alarms and CCTV towers can be installed to properties and sites with additional options of steel screens, wood boarding and perimeter security solutions.
  • Our extensive branch office network remains operational.
  • Our gold award Contact Centre and Alarm Receiving Centre remain operational
  • Our technology and processes are robust and enable us to provide an uninterrupted service, be that from your local teams or on site.

Meeting future challenges

We know that coronavirus poses different challenges for our clients around operational resilience and capability, but I promise that Orbis will be with you every step of the way.

While we work together to beat coronavirus, please do get in touch if we can be of assistance in these areas.

 

Kind regards,

 


Guy Other
CEO, Orbis Protect

 


Company Statement

Wednesday – 18/03/2020

We are closely monitoring the situation around the COVID-19 outbreak, as are many of our clients up and down the UK.

We have contacted all clients to update them on how we will continue to support them in these challenging times.

Now more than ever, our priority remains focused on continuing to provide excellent service to our clients and supporting them wherever needed.

We are taking all possible contingency steps and have robust plans in place to ensure that:

  • Our extensive branch office network remains operational.
  • We remain fully mobilised to support clients.
  • Our contact centres and switchboards remain operational.
  • Our technology and processes are robust and enable us to provide an uninterrupted service, be that from your local teams or on site.

Meeting future challenges

We know that coronavirus poses different challenges for our clients around operational resilience and capability. We can offer support around a number of areas – from maintaining day-to-day security operations with rapidly deployable security to responding to issues on sites and in offices with Coronavirus Infection Control Services.

Clients can continue to keep in touch with their local account manager or branch with any questions about how we can help. We have teams available 24/7 for your security needs.

I would like to thank them and our dedicated staff throughout the UK for their continued support.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Guy Other
CEO, Orbis Protect


Send us a message:

 

Businesses cleaning up their act to fight invisible enemy

Author: Orbis Protect business development director Louis Fordham

With the number of coronavirus cases rising, businesses are more conscious than ever of the need to protect themselves against this invisible enemy.

Scientists estimate that coronavirus can survive on surfaces for as long as nine days, and so it’s heartening that organisations across the public and private sectors are taking action.

They know they have a responsibility to their staff, their customers and their patients to attack Covid-19 and that explains why there’s been a surge in demand for deep-cleaning services.

But as well as safeguarding people we know it will also be good for the long-term health of organisations.

We’ve responded to a huge rise in demand for deep-cleaning services over the last few weeks – supporting services ranging from banks to care facilities and from building sites to sole traders.

We’ve been inundated with calls – the team has been hard at it from 6.30am every morning to keep up.

People are doing their bit to make the world safe again and in turn we’re doing everything we can to assist on the frontline at this challenging time through decontamination.

There’s certainly a lot of nervousness around which is why we’ve even had a request to clean a lift at a block of flats after the police arrested a man who claimed he’d got the highly contagious bug.

Decontamination sounds daunting if not scary and the sight of staff in full-length protective suits, complete with goggles and special footwear probably won’t ease nerves.

But it should give peace of mind because when they’re done they will have eliminated 99.99% per cent of all bugs and viruses going – the only thing they won’t remove are the crumbs nestling in computer keyboards.

That’s some going because if you were to wipe a normal desk structure, there’d be something like three billion microorganisms lurking.

But our special technique effectively gets rid of everything, with the list led by coronavirus but also including other viruses such as norovirus, and SARS and bacteria like salmonella, and E. coli.

It might sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. It’s down to a vaporization process we know as ‘fogging’.

The way it works is that a solution is poured into what we call a fogging dispenser, which then turns particles into a very fine mist.

It’s sprayed around with a gun then goes hunting for the bacteria and it smothers it to death.

And it gets everywhere – behind light switches, skirting boards, all your nooks and crannies.

Then everyone has the re-assurance that their place of work, or leisure, or transport has been sanitised.

Once you’ve got everyone out of the way, it’s a pretty straightforward process – it can take just ten minutes after the process is complete before it’s safe.

An hour for a two-bedroom hole weekend to complete

And say we’re talking a bank, key public facility or factory; it can be carried out overnight, therefore maintaining productivity.

In the past we’ve been called into help even the toughest of sports people in the shape of the rugby league players at a top Super League club where we fogged their changing room area.

One of English football’s best-known clubs also brought us in to do the same to make sure their facilities got a clean bill of health.

And we’ve done our bit to help the fittest people around when we got a call to decontaminate a behind-the-scenes area Emirates indoor athletics stadium for the track and field stars in Glasgow.

Going further back, when we were new to fogging, in 2009 we got the call to clean the Marco Polo cruise ship Liverpool after a norovirus outbreak.

While it won’t keep everything spotless for long, ‘fogging’ does at least provide a fresh start and in the current climate that’s what we’re all looking forward to.

But it will put minds at rest – people are more likely to go back to work rather than stay in house once they know their workplace or mode of transport is free of coronavirus.

Looking ahead, from what I can tell, hygiene in communal areas will be a bigger priority than ever from here on in. The world cannot close like this again.

I don’t doubt there will be legislation to ensure that hygiene is more rigorous – with monitoring right up there with safety standards on gas, carbon monoxide, fire safety, MoTs.

That’s for the future. For now, above all, it’s essential that we continue to follow the government’s guidance and do everything we can to ensure that staff and customers stay well.

Relevant Article: Businesses clean up to fight invisible enemy

Protecting The Physical & Mental Health of Lone Workers’

Everyone from Tyson Fury to Prince Harry and JK Rowling to Angelina Jolie is doing their bit to tackle the stigma attached to mental health issues. Anxiety, stress, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, awareness of these issues has been heightened by influential public figures.

Mental health issues may well come with the territory when you’re in high-profile positions, yet they deserve credit for speaking out. But mental health does not discriminate in terms of class, grade, sex, ethnicity, or age and people doing everyday jobs can struggle with the daily routines.

Thanks to our progressive attitudes to mental health, if you’re based in an office, there will be a manager to keep an eye on you and someone you can turn to offload. But we should not forget the hundreds of thousands of people earning a living as lone workers, many of whom work for housing providers. Out of sight should not mean out of mind.

People in the housing industry have got enough to contend with when it comes to physical threats, assaults or verbal attacks, and the sector has an excellent track record of dealing with this.

Lone worker identifying herself at the door

We know from the many thousands of people we support that being a lone worker is safer than ever thanks in part to the protection services networks and processes in place. But there is also a less obvious challenge when it comes to lone working and that is work-related stress.

It stems from feeling forgotten about, feeling isolated and feeling vulnerable – wondering how you’ll cope when you’re out and about on your own.

And that’s why it was so pleasing to see the Health & Safety Executive is moving with the times and has just updated its guidance: Protecting lone workers – How to manage the risks of working alone.

It means that housing sector organisations have a duty to consider the mental health of staff who work remotely as well as their physical safety. The housing sector depends on the agility of its lone workers and long may that continue.

But they require support so they can enjoy peace of mind right around-the-clock. No one should be kept awake at night because they’re worried about what’s in store for them the next day. We know that quite often the stress comes from feeling cut off from managers and colleagues; detached from the organisation as a whole. That’s something we’re determined to address.


This is a fast-moving area which has brought tremendous change in the industry. Specialised security products, key fob style devices with built-in GPS, and connections to a dedicated 24/7 accredited team to assist in emergencies are all in place as awareness and expectations have changed. Thanks to big hitters like Tyson Fury, there’s been a step-change in terms of looking out for colleagues.

I’m proud to say we’re doing our bit on the technical side. But the onus is on managers to focus on measures to maintain staff well-being – and not lose sleep because of work duties.

Demand for a way to ensure staff safety at work resolved.

We have launched the new RedAlert Welfare application that allows employers to keep their employees safe from any danger they might encounter too, at and from work.


Organisations from sectors including manufacturing, retail, professional services, banking and finance are looking at how they can deploy technology to ensure their employees have the protection and support they need when working alone.

More than 33,000 of Our specialist Red Alert devices and applications have been sold to employers up to June this year – an increase of more than 8% when compared with the same period the previous year.

In addition, a rise in interest is being partly driven by organisations whose staff work in low risk professions and have not previously sought protection from traditional lone worker technology.

Almost 30% more enquiries have been made to Orbis Protect’s Red Alert Welfare team this year than in 2018.


Experts believe that this reflects the changes in the modern workplace, with an increase in flexible and remote working meaning that employers must think differently about how they look out for their staff.

We are responding to this by providing new services to organisations who have a duty of care to its employees, wherever and whenever they are working.

Our chief technology officer Shaun Wilcock said: “As an organisation that has provided protection services to workers over the last two decades, we are seeing a change in the types of organisations who need to provide this level of support for their staff.

“This reflects the changing way of how people work. Housing providers, local authorities and utility companies have long understood the importance of providing a real time support to their lone worker staff 24/7.

“With technology and social changes impacting on the way we work, and more people working flexibly and alone, our services and those of other providers need to adapt to reflect this.”

We have developed our smart solution to enable users to provide a reassuring touchpoint to colleagues and teams who are away from the office.


Available on a smartphone app, Red Alert Welfare connects users with personal support from Orbis’ dedicated alarm receiving centre if they feel unsafe while working.

One client who has been using Red Alert support is Sarah Johnstone, who is a neighbourhood co-ordinator at Thirteen housing association, a long-standing Orbis client.

Sarah said: “Over my eight-year career as a neighbourhood co-ordinator, I do think that being a lone worker has become safer than ever. Our discrete alarms really offer peace of mind and the alarm receiving centre is so valuable. Knowing there’s someone at the end of the device to listen, able to locate me using GPS and can get the emergency services to me if needed, feels very comforting as a lone worker.”

We already provide lone worker protection services for organisations including the NHS, Ocado, Transport for London and HS2.

 
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